Long Parliament

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From 1629 to 1640 Charles I ruled absolutely, and without a Parliament. The "Long Parliament" is the name of the English Parliament called by Charles I in 1640 in the wake of the Bishops' wars. The sole reason Charles reassembled Parliament was to gain finance since the wars had bankrupted him.

The Parliament was led by John Pym. In August 1641 it enacted legislation depriving Charles of the powers that he had assumed in the wake of his accession. The reforms were designed to rule out Charles ruling absolutely again. It freed those imprisoned by the Star Chamber. A Triennial Act was passed that no more than three years should elapse between sessions of Parliament.

The Long Parliament was also responsible for the impeachment and subsequent execution of the king's advisers Archbishop William Laud and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. Without its royalist members, the Long Parliament continued to sit during the Civil War. This was due to the fact that its dissolution was only possible with its own consent.

Divisions emerged between various factions, culminating in Pride's Purge of 1648. In the wake of the ejections, the remnant, the Rump Parliament, arranged for the trial and execution of Charles I. It was also responsible for the setting up of the Commonwealth of England (1649).

Oliver Cromwell forcibly disbanded the Rump Parliament in 1653. It was recalled after his son, Richard Cromwell's dismal failure as Lord Protector in 1659. The following year General Monck reinstated the members 'secluded' by Pride. The Convention Parliament was prepared for and the Long Parliament dissolved in March 1660.